Psychiatry Services for Aging & Mental Health

The Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic provides subspecialty outpatient services for adults ages 60 and older with mental health concerns and/or dementia. The mission of our clinic is to increase access to specialized mental health services and raise awareness and understanding of the unique mental health needs of older adults.

Our clinic offers diagnostic evaluation, consultation, treatment, education, and support for patients with new and ongoing mental health issues. Each initial evaluation of a patient includes a thorough assessment of the biological, psychological, and social factors that can affect their mental health. We may even consult with a patient’s loved ones or caregivers to give us a complete picture of the patient’s background. All of these factors help our providers develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to an individual’s needs.

We have an interdisciplinary team of providers, including:

  • geriatric psychiatrists,
  • neuropsychologists,
  • psychiatry residents,
  • nurse practitioners,
  • social workers, and
  • other health professional trainees.

As part of a larger academic institution, our clinic is also a teaching site for the next generation of mental health care professionals. Psychiatry residents and health care professional trainees will assist with you or your loved one's care. This hands-on experience will teach them how to treat and manage the unique psychiatric and psychosocial issues of older adults.

Virtual Visits Available

Due to COVID-19, we will make every effort to conduct virtual visits. Call our office at 801-587-8007 for more information.

What Is Geriatric Psychiatry?

Geriatric psychiatry is a specialized field of psychiatric care for older adults age 60 and older. The goal of our clinic is to maximize the quality of life and functionality of older adults and empower them to live their best life possible.

What Does a Geriatric Psychiatrist Do?

Geriatric psychiatrists have specialized training in late-life psychiatric syndromes such as dementia, depression, and many other common mental health disorders seen in older adults. Their training includes:

  • psychotherapy with older adults and their families,
  • long-term care psychiatry and consultation-liaison, as well as
  • additional training in geriatric medicine and neurology.

Our geriatric psychiatrists and other care team members understand that older adults have unique physical, emotional, and social needs. Understanding this, our team takes a respectful, compassionate, and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Older man smiling
Senior couple smiling at each other

Services & Treatments

Our care team provides an array of services to help you or your loved one get the most comprehensive treatment available.

  • Consultations for individuals who have been referred to us or are interested in learning more about mental health care
  • Diagnostic evaluations and treatment for new mental health issues
  • Continuing treatment and management for ongoing mental health issues
  • Medication and non-medication management of symptoms
  • Individual psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Psychosocial assessments and assistance connecting with community resources
  • Neuropsychological testing to assist with diagnostic clarification for mood, personality, and cognitive issues
  • Dementia evaluations and continued monitoring for memory decline
  • Identifying and treating behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with dementia
  • Caregiver monitoring, support, and education
  • Partnering with patients and their caregivers through the course of the illness by providing education and support, identifying safety concerns, discussing future care plans, and linking with community resources

Geriatric Psychiatry Care Team

Our Psychiatrists and Neuropsychiatrists

Our Support Staff

Anne Asman, MS

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Program Manager

Anne Asman has a Master of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Gerontology from the University of Utah and a certificate in Dementia Education and Communication from the University of Tasmania in Australia. She is the Program Manager for the Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute at the University of Utah. She has completed the Utah Certificate of Palliative Care Education, and Dementia Assist Communications certification. She has also completed the Dealing with Dementia Training from the Rosalynn Carter Institute of Caregiving. Anne is Chair of the Dementia Aware work group for the State Alzheimer's and other Dementias Coordinating Council and works closely with the state AAA's and the State Division of Aging and Adult Services. Anne co-authored the 2018-2022 State Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia State Plan and will help draft the new state plan. She heads the Summit County Aging Alliance and works with multiple public and private organizations to provide and advocate for best practice care in geriatrics across the state. She has facilitated presentations on Advanced Directives and End of Life planning, The Aging Brain, and continues to teach "Embrace Aging" courses for Osher Lifelong Learning at the University of Utah. She is a member of the Institute on Aging, University of Utah Center on Aging, American Federation for Aging Research, American Society on Aging, and the Gerontological Society of America.

Briana C. Velarde, MS

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Geriatric Care Manager

Briana C. Velarde is a Gerontologist and health services researcher who studies the health needs for older adults experiencing mental health issues with an emphasis on rural aging. She is the clinic’s Geriatric Care Manager who specializes in finding resources for aging adults, family, and caregivers. She received her master’s degree through the University of Utah’s College of Nursing and has presented her latest research, How a Rural Community Adapts to an Aging Population, at the Gerontological Society of America in 2019.

Mental Health Disorders & Conditions We Treat

The following is a non-inclusive list of some of the conditions we treat that are prevalent in older adults:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Caregiver stress (this condition is characterized by the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that occurs when a person neglects their own health while they care for an ill, injured, or disabled loved one)
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Memory loss or cognitive impairment
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring, unwanted thoughts/ideas/sensations (obsessions) that make people feel driven to do something repetitively, such as hand washing or turning out the lights)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Schizoaffective disorder (a combination of psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania that can significantly impair a person’s ability to function normally)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance abuse

What to Expect During Your First Visit

All new patients can expect a welcome phone call to help prepare them for the first visit. You or your loved one will have an initial intake appointment with our social worker who will collect medical, social, and personal history information necessary to develop a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan. For this reason, we may request input from family, loved ones, or caregivers who know the patient well. Patients will then be scheduled for medical care management and/or therapy appointments.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

To make the most of your appointments, please bring the following:

  • health insurance card,
  • a list of all your medications (prescriptions and over-the-counter), including the dosages and when you take them,
  • a family member or caregiver must accompany the patient to all appointments, particularly those with memory complaints,
  • discharge summaries,
  • laboratory reports,
  • head imaging reports, or
  • copies of other records as applicable. 

How to Make an Appointment

For new patients, please call our intake line at 801-587-8007 for more information. We accept most insurance, including Medicare.

Referrals are not necessary to see one of our specialists. However, if you are a referring physician from outside of our U of U Health system, please fill out our online patient referral form.

Healthcare professionals and established patients may call our clinic line at 801-587-8007 to make appointments or inquire about patient referrals.